Column: CEO Learnings
A proven guide on how to survive and lead during inflation — Inflation that we have not seen in 40 years is here to stay, with no foreseeable reduction in sight. It is not transitory.
Best-selling author Ram Charan, whom I have known for 40 years, experienced the insidious inflation of the 1970s. So have I, first-hand. At that time, Ram was an executive consultant and professor at the Harvard Business School and I, an operating executive for American Hospital Supply Corporation (now Baxter).
Our experience with inflation extended beyond the shores of the United States. This was an insidious and destructive period for organizations of all sizes and types (and for individuals). Back then, double-digit inflation exceeded 12%.
An essential handbook to guide us through raging inflation
In his newest book, Leading Through Inflation, Ram culls from lessons learned in the 1970s, then updates and adapts them to the post-Quantitative Easing (post-QE) inflationary period we entered in 2022.
This relatively short, 113-page book was written to serve as a handbook, complete with a checklist of critical action items for the CEO, the CFO, sales and marketing executives, and for operating executives.
Eight universal and unyielding truths about inflation
Ram begins with the universal and unyielding truths about inflation—which are the same today as they were in the 1970s. These are:
- Inflation consumes cash
- Price increases roll through, from a company’s and products’ value change to the end consumer like a freight train, disrupting the economics and the power of players along the way.
- Aggregate measures such as the consumer price index don’t tell you much about how inflation will affect your company.
- The effects of inflation are cumulative. Seven percent (7%) may be manageable for one year, but compounded over several years it will ravage business.
- Inflation trends are partly psychological. This can lead to hyperinflation.
- Inflation can turn well-planned capital expenditures into bad investments.
- Sacrificing customer trust to protect the business from higher costs has long-term consequences. It is hard to restore a brand once it is tarnished.
- Inflation reorders competition. Those who can sustain in the near term will strengthen their position for future growth.
A rock-solid guide to survive—and even thrive—through profound inflation
Leading Though Inflation continues with sage advice for leading during inflationary periods. This advice is not only from Ram but also from a distinguished group of contributors in Ram’s network.
The book is organized around seven chapters:
- What You Need to Know about Inflation
- A War Room to Pick up Early Warning Signals
- Pay Attention to Cash
- Change Your Pricing Approach – Fast
- Find Costs Cuts That Build the Business
- Renew Your Business Model
- Inflation Is Everybody’s Business: Your Role
The ultimate inflation-survival handbook
Chapter 7 includes advice to the Board of Directors regarding key questions to ask, the realignment of compensation, and capital allocation.
Leading Through Inflation achieves its goal as handbook that all can use for navigating these perilous times. It is one of those books that should be given to managers, executives and board members in every organizations, regardless of size — from global to mid-sized, to small; from dominant brands to start-ups to local entrepreneurs.
Listen to Ram and Tom talk about How to Lead Through Inflation:
You can hear Ram talk about this topic by going to this episode of THE MENTORS RADIO, https://thementorsradio.com/leading-and-managing-your-business-for-profitability-in-inflationary-times-with-renown-global-ceo-advisor-ram-charan/, in which Ram provides his sage advice on leading during inflationary times. Subscribe to THE MENTORS RADIO while at our website so you do not miss any future episodes. This show is broadcast worldwide on Saturdays on SALEM San Francisco’s “860AM The Answer.” All shows are archived and can be retrieved at TheMentorsRadio.com and on all popular podcast platforms.
- Leading through Inflation: And Recession and Stagflation — by Ram Charan, Geri Willigen
- Leading and Managing Your Business for Profitability in Inflationary Times, with Renown Global CEO Advisor Ram Charan — an interview with The Mentors Radio Host Tom Loarie and International CEO advisor Ram Charan
View Articles Thomas M. Loarie is a popular host of The Mentors Radio Show, the founder and CEO of BryoLogyx Inc. (BryoLogyx.com), and a seasoned corporate... MORE »
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